Poor Improvement of Stanford Emergency Room Services
2010 was rough for me as I had to be admitted to the Stanford University Medical Center ER three times. All visits were sub-par. This appears to be a reflection on cut-backs everywhere around California. Services at Petaluma Valley Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial ER, that I personally experienced, were no better last year.
In my annals, I found a letter written in 2007 that “bragged” about what good treatment had been obtained at Stanford the year before. That was more than four years ago… Oh how things have not changed for the better.
“To Whom It May Concern:
I can recall one very good experience I had at a hospital in recent experience. I am afflicted with severe food allergies, and on the average of once a year, something hazardous sneaks into my meal. I get so ill that it requires a visit to the Emergency Room.
The good experience was at the Stanford University Hospital’s ER. I got so sick that I labored with every breath, had a rash on my body, and a terrible stomachache. The triage nurse in the waiting room attended to me immediately and quickly went back into the ER to alert the medical staff. Typically, patients have to sit and wait to be called and must first register at the insurance window.
Fortunately, I did not have to go through a long wait. The nurses and a doctor met me at the door and began asking relevant questions. After I took off my shirt, they inserted an IV and began diluting me with saline. The on-duty doctor, in short time, directed staff to administer medications, which I knew have worked well in the past.
The staff checked in on me frequently. The attending physician made a point of supervising the process and explained what I should be expecting in terms of treatment and time it would take. He seemed to come back to look in at me at least every hour. I was in the ER for about three hours. Nursing staff and the treating doctor were very competent, empathetic, and considerate.
The reception staff made a special effort to come into the ER and take my insurance cards for their records. They made copies and promptly returned them.
I was allowed to rest on the gurney while I was being treated. They did not move me around like I have been at other ERs. All the while, staff was attentive and was able to answer my questions and make me more comfortable. Additional doses of medicine were promptly administered. I recall it was a Sunday in the fall and one staff member made an effort to check the score of the 49ers football game that was on the television in the waiting room lobby.
At the end of the treatment, the on-duty doctor prescribed medication to take during the days following the event. The attending doctor made sure that I understood all directions and was OK before they let me leave.
They also provided me with the pills to take. Apparently, the pharmacy works efficiently with the ER staff. It was a touch and go experience but due to the response of Stanford’s ER, I felt much better...”
In the future, I hope I never end up in a poorly managed emergency room again. I am afraid that the “good old days” of emergency medicine are not coming back into fashion and practice. I also have greater faith in Congress messing up the national health care plan legislated in 2010. It would be best never to get sick again.
copyright MMXI – Max’s Scout Services & Communications, LLC
Follow-Up Communication to Stanford Hospital & Clinics of the Stanford University Medical Center
After having received no reply, I wrote another e-mail on January 10, 2011, that read as follows:
“I recently received a lengthy letter from Adriana El Calamawy from SUMC Guest Services. Two months earlier, I received a similar letter from Roberta Bogush.
Some of the “facts” recorded by the medical staff during my ER visits during 2010 were either not accurate, omitted, or misunderstood by staff working in other departments. This upsets me further.
It is now January 2011 and things still are not resolved from a medical visit last January, on March 17, 2010, and June 27, 2010.
1. Discharge was very awkward. No bus token was ever offered. No arrangement for shelter or transportation were made by a “case manager” on my behalf.
And who medically “cleared me for discharge?”
2. Professionalism of the Medical Doctor in the ER and up on Unit G2.
Dr. Lui needs a training seminar or another semester in medical school. Was she at least disciplined? I care not whether she is sorry about me or appologizes. Think more than a minute what is going to happen to her future patients?!?
I will never let an ambulance take me to Stanford again. You have not provided me any reason why nor reassurances that the itemized issues would not likely occur again. In fact, I might rather die that be seen.
3. Poor medicine offered and administered. The record will show that I NEVER had EVER taken either Ativant or Zyprexa before. Why were these considered,,, let alone administered to me? I had ill effects for many weeks even after my own doctor took me off these medications.
And on top of that releasing me on to the street with merely written prescriptions of these things? I think this is very bad doctoring and shows a lack of coordination with the hospital pharmacy.
Supervisors Dr. Roy Kim nor Dr. Wang ever met with me during my entire three-day stay.
Not only was I administered two medicines I was unaccustomed, I was not given any of the medicines that I was prescribed to take by my home psychiatrist and internist.
I have a history of hypertension, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, high colesterol, gastric disturbances, pain… Why did I not receive pills for these conditions?
No, I never asked for a Nicoderm patch. I asked for a cigarette break. I was forced by some staff member other than the prescribing ER doctor to wear it. The patch was ineffective and I kept asking for another cigarette break. No one acted on this or explained why or offered any alternatives.
5. Poor Pain Management Protocols.
My visits to the ER in January and March were for abnominal pain. The medicines offered IV provided minimal relief.
For some reason, the attending Physician released me without any discussion. I was still hurting. It was in the middle of the morning – after 2 a.m. No way home and more importantly no medicine administered that helped.
You know what I had to do? Walk three miles with my service-assistance dog in unseasonably cold weather conditions, in the dark, when nothing is open, and walk three miles with an intense stomach ache.
No, no medicine was offered to me to make it until the next morning when the local pharmacy would be open.
Doses were so small when I was on the ER gurney that they were ineffective for more than twenty minutes.
Thus, what good are your medical and pharmacy staff? All these blood, EKG, EEG, and other diagnostic tests are performed and what happens with that information? I was given no results of these tests either verbally or in writing. Did this help my intense abdominal pain? Naw. Things only got worse.
Honestly, I ended up telling friends that I felt worse when leaving the Stanford Hospital than I felt when I first arrived.
One satified visit to the ER room out of three, .333, is a good batting average in baseball.
No satified visits out of three amounts to just a “series of goose eggs.”
6. Billing. Can you help clear things up with the Accounting service? What do you think I should be willing to pay for? What would really be fair?
I felt worse leaving your Medical Center three times in a period of six months.
- My opinion is that I pay nothing.
- My opinion is that I ask for nothing.
- My opinion is that I never come back.